2014 Winnipeg Civic Election

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The information on this page was collected for the 2010 Winnipeg Civic Election.

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Gail Watson


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Gail Watson

Candidate in the 2010 Pembina Trails - 1 School Ward race.

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Questionnaire Response

Why did you decide to run in the 2010 school board election?

One of the reasons I decided to run in the 2010 school board election is because our division is at an important stage in the process of moving forward with a leadership initiative of setting clear expectations for student learning. This involves the areas of student learning in literacy and numeracy, and student engagement. Having been involved in this important initiative for nearly two years I am anxious to contribute to the next steps of implementation and communication within the learning communities of our Division.

Another reason is the continuing passion I have for working to ensure students are well educated and prepared for their future in today’s world. I believe that the education of our youth is the most important task to which I can devote my time and energy. As a trustee it has been evident that the multitude of decisions made by the school board affects the learning environment for students and staff. I’m prepared to collaborate with parents, staff and the community to make sure those decisions continue to be positive for Pembina Trails School Division.

What experience will you bring to complement your role as school trustee?

The experience I bring to the role of being a school trustee consists of nearly 24 years of serving in this capacity. I have held all positions including chair of the board, chair and/or member of all standing committees, and have served on countless special committees. In addition I’m a past chair of the governing Board of Winnipeg Technical College. I’m a past president of the Manitoba School Boards Association where I experienced the opportunity of learning about the direction, achievements and needs of education throughout Manitoba and Canada.

I spent 16 years as an employee of the Manitoba Government implementing educational programs for families as an extension home economist with 10 of those years in management as a provincial program director. Since then I’ve been a self employed facilitator and consultant focusing on strategic planning, policy and program development. Last year I completed the coordinators role of 'Poverty is Hazardous to Women’s Health' project for the Women’s Health Clinic.

What are the major issues you would like to stand for and why did you choose these issues?

  • Being fiscally responsible by making sure our financial resources is spent wisely by balancing educational and student needs with the dollars available;
  • Learning can only take place if our school environments are safe and caring places to work and learn. All partners including parents, schools and community need to cooperate to ensure this important aspect;
  • Engaging students in their learning and meeting their diverse needs is complex today for several reasons. Most students have known technology since their birth, many come from other countries without either English or French language, and others live in poverty and come to school hungry, as examples;
  • Ensuring student academic success by providing classroom support for curriculum implementation, access to new technologies and staff development are essential; The educational leadership initiative of the Board to increase literacy and numeracy outcomes for student learning and to enhance student engagement requires continued use of divisional assessment data, discussion and analysis with all involved.
  • Improving our buildings with up dates to classrooms, libraries, music rooms, science labs, etc. are necessary including regular maintenance, ensuring safety codes are met and creating inviting learning spaces for students.

Is there anything in particular you would like to change in your school division? In your ward?

Strengthening communication with our communities is an area I’d like to see improved. Today everyone is so busy it is difficult to reach the public with information about what’s happening in their neighbourhood schools. As more community members do not have children in school I think it is important that we increase the understanding of public education in today’s world and find ways to involve more people in our schools. So many exciting and positive initiatives take place every day in schools and generally other than the parents, the community knows little about these endeavors. Many community members would be interested to see how schools use technology in classrooms, what a science lab looks like today, experience how accomplished the students are in music, the arts, etc. Quality, comprehensive education is expensive and taxpayers should have more opportunities to understand how those dollars are being used and to celebrate student success.

Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?

I have resided in Charleswood since 1974 and together with husband Lyle, raised our daughters in this great community. Both of our daughters were in the French Immersion program. Jody began at Dieppe school for kindergarten and then as did Lori, attended Royal School, Charleswood School and both graduated from Oak Park High School. As parents we are grateful for the outstanding education they received in the school division and are proud as they contribute to our community as young adults. Jody is the Director of educational programs at Fort Whyte Alive while Lori and husband Robert own and operate Kick It Dance studio.

I have served on many local, provincial and national boards and committees. Presently I am the treasurer of the Canadian Home Economics Foundation, and a co chair of Taking Charge Inc. Previously I’ve been a council member of the Agriculture Research and Development Initiative and of Eco Action, and am a past president of the Charleswood Business Women’s Curling Club and Royal School Parent Council.

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